After a day of rest, I have enough energy to talk about how I dealt with Christmas.
I don’t really have any more tips, other than know your autistic relative.
Christmas Eve was basically spending an evening at my cousin’s place for food, family and fun. The funny thing is, it was almost entirely about vegetable casseroles, almost all of which I like very much. Off topic, it’s funny how I have come to like vegetables as an adult, even after thinking I would never like them as a child. Somehow, trying new things and culinary adventure came to include veggies in adulthood. Sometimes, one just needs to bite the bullet and try it. There’s no shortcuts to that one. We also got games, good family talking and even some quiet times, too. It was great. I was disappointed in one factor, though; I wanted to talk to the parents of an autistic relative of mine. He’s a young boy, but I would like to have a talk with his parents, you know, to provide some perspective. But they were not there. I was not exactly going to grill them or provide lectures, but it helps when you’re not alone in a family, as I have so often felt.
Christmas Day was a little different. We invited a couple who had just gotten together, but the man in the two was a friend, so it was alright. Much of the food was on my shoulders, but it was very easy. We had Prime Rib, steamed vegetables, rice pilaf, rolls and a salad, plus cheesecake for dessert. It’s not easy to screw up Prime Rib. Twenty minutes at a high temperature and then 25 minutes per pound. It was done within three hours, resting included. That was the hardest part of the meal. I mean, rice pilaf is very easy from the boxes, and I’ve done rolls many times for Thanksgiving. So, easy meal, good food, good friends, and an overall nice time. It started to get very cold when the day was done, so we had to get them home early. We had a nice time, with blocks of quiet book ending the day. Could not have asked for more.
It’s not a thing I take for granted. For the longest time, the above statement was not true. It has taken me almost forty years to realize that being Free to Be Me was a privilege denied me for years. I had to change and conceal my true self with almost everyone. I mean, you’ve seen the wreckage. I’m still trying to figure out who I am. I mean, I’ve answered most of the fundamentals, like who I’m attracted to. I’m not going to digress into that. There are more answers I still do not know. I’ve just barely learned how to be free; now it’s time to learn how to be me.
In these hours it is when I realize how truly lucky and grateful I am for a parent who accepts me as I am. This has helped me free myself more than I have ever been. Many people I know do not have that, in relation to autism. I also know many more people do not have that in other ways. There is no real platitude or words of wisdom to give in those cases. Sometimes, you just have to amputate people from your life. You also need to reach out, and be vulnerable. Considering my history, this is very shocking for me to write. I have learned who my real friends are. And I’m not giving my trust out to just anybody. I know making friends while being autistic is hard, but you do need your support. You may find your support in surprising places. I know they’re out there. They’re going to help you be free. Don’t you think you deserve that to look forward to?
How is my Thanksgiving prep going? Pretty good. We have planned the menu and we will be shopping for it soon. You kind of have to do the fresh things, like turkey and fresh vegetables, a week before, so you can get it all properly. I must admit, I need help to do the Thanksgiving dinner the way we had it in the past, but I’ve got that too. I have done a Thanksgiving dinner before – several times. I also have the mind behind the Thanksgiving dinner – my mother.
It’s not all bragging. It’s careful planning and timing, something I still struggle with. We have our traditions for after Thanksgiving, too. It’s called “Staying Home and Putting up Christmas Decorations.” But I digress. There’s not really much to the Thanksgiving thing. To me, it’s mostly being thankful for what you have, and dinner.
I am thankful I have a mother who accepts me the way I am. I have a warm home with love and good furniture. I am thankful I have clothes to wear. I am thankful I can express myself in the blog I have. I am thankful I can clean the clothes I wear whenever I can, thankful for a washer/dryer combo in my house. I am thankful I have a dog that looks at me like I’m the best thing that ever happened. I am thankful that I can say I have basic needs covered. Many people around the world and near me do not have even this.
As I have said before, previous Autism Awareness Month(s) have been hijacked by the “Destroy All Autism” rhetoric of Autism Speaks. Now, we autistics are breaking through. I can see it in a local Kroger store’s Autism Awareness Month display. I was initially put off because it used puzzle pieces in decoration, though those puzzle pieces had words such as “Accept,” “Love” and “Hope.” It looked like your basic puzzle piece poster at first, though. I had to look much closer. With the traditional puzzle piece, you are literally forced to look closer for hope. I found that hope breaking through as many of us autistics grow up, and often find themselves finding about autism later in life, especially if you’re a woman. Now, I’m turning forty this year, and was diagnosed as a child myself, but at the time of my diagnosis, autism was considered a rare condition. I’ll tell you what changed: the diagnostic criteria was loosened considerably. Now that is why we’re getting a lot more diagnoses these days. But learning that autism actually has benefits, and breaking away from the Doom and Gloom of Autism Speaks, we find our hope peeking out through the pain.
In case you have not noticed, I am a Christian, which means I believe that the biggest event in history was a Roman execution of a carpenter and apparent political upstart. It’s kind of weird that we wear the instrument of execution on our bodies and in our homes. It’s even weirder that we consider the carpenter and upstart the greatest man in history. And the weirdest of all, the fact is, some of the symbols of this event have nothing to do with the event in particular. I mean, what do Crucifixion and Resurrection have to do with candy bunnies and colored eggs?
Let me get to the most important part-the gist of the Gospel of Easter: Everybody sins, and the judgment of sin is death. Everybody dies, too. But the trouble is, death sends people to the realm of Hell. We needed a savior to save us from that fate. Trouble is, everybody sins, so there is no one who can. An innocent had to put on the sins of others to provide a way out, so… God sent his son to die the most brutal death in history, and rise again from the grave, to provide a way to be with God. That’s it. So, why do bunnies, flowers, eggs and bugs figure into the celebration?
Growing up, I originally thought the bunny and the egg were a little silly. I mean, as a Christian, how does any of that fit into the story of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection? There were no mentions of rabbits or eggs in the Bible anywhere. Nobody told me anything as to why until I was in my teens. Then, the prevailing church came to the Easter symbols’ attack. They were originally used as fertility symbols of non-Christian gods. However, these symbols were “Christianized,” or incorporated, into the celebration, given new meanings and new places inside Christianity.
The Holiday Spot gives a concise meaning into the various symbols associated with Easter. I am perfectly alright with these traditional symbols, given their new meanings of new life. There are even symbols I did not know were incorporated into the celebration, such as the butterfly. The butterfly represents the spiritual metamorphosis the Christian soul and spirit undergo. It is my favorite symbol of Easter and spring. From death into life, the way of God goes.
“34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.. ” -1 Corinthians 7:34 (KJV)
As a single woman of God, I am called to celibacy. Celibacy is simply the lifestyle of abstaining from sexual relations until I am married. It is an easy and happy lifestyle for me. But it did not start out that way…I had to ask God to remove and control my lusts for it to happen. There was also a time I would lament the fact that I did not have a husband. It turns out, having a husband is not a possibility, nor is it a real convenience for me right now. The trouble with celibacy is simply this: there is a lot of fear in our society of single and celibate women, especially since there are not a lot of them. I’m not going to pump out statistics on it, but you can look them up. I’m just happy being single and celibate, leaving dating and courtship behind for a while in order to fully pursue God.
The journey I am currently on began when my mother gave me a direct message from the Lord: that it was best that I not get married at the time, and I am certain because God gives her words to tell people all the time…and they are in line with God’s Word. This ended a period of time when I would lament not having a man to go home to, or take care of me. I thought I needed a man to complete me, because that is what most people say about women…unless, of course, you bring up your disability. Then you are apparently a being without a sexuality, which is just impossible. I had over time asked God to remove lusts I was having because of my lamenting over my singlehood. I look back now and believe this was the biggest cause of my agony.
There is a lot of fear concerning the celibate and single woman, especially when sexual experience is generally encouraged and prized in our society and media, especially from married women. I have noticed that I am not as encouraged to hold babies, nor generally be around them. Do people actually think I hate children? I love children. I love them so much that I do not want them to suffer in life with the autism I could pass on to them as their mother. That is why I do not have children, and that is the thing people do not understand about celibacy. There is usually a very good reason behind a person’s choice in life. The most enlightening question is usually “Why?” Do not fear the celibate woman, my married sister; she is not here to steal your husband.
My celibacy is also a gift from the Lord, to pursue Him with the passion he is pursuing me with. I want to follow Him with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength. I want to leave the world behind, and be involved with the things of God. That is my situation; if the Lord decides to bring me a man and change it, so be it; I am not going to try and change what the Lord has laid out.
A few weeks ago, we saw the movie War Room. Simply put, it’s not actually about soldiers, unless you count soldiers of the cross. It outlined the different tenets of a hot prayer life for God-and who the real enemy is. My mother and I were inspired to create a sort of prayer wall to list our prayer requests on. My mother and I don’t hide any secrets from each other, so this prayer wall is in the living room – strangely, in the innermost wall of our living vicinity. Every day now, we take the prayers lists off the wall and pray for those requests on the
Now, I’m not talking about this for pats on the back. Nobody really receives deserved praise for doing their everyday tasks. We are not perfect in our prayer lives – only recently did we somehow learn that praise and thanksgiving comes with the prayer territory – not just requests. We are still working on these things. We have learned who to pray for, and who the real enemy is. (HINT: It’s not the people you’re praying for. And if you’re praying against somebody, you’re doing it wrong.) Well, let’s just say our prayer lists are growing week by week. There is so much to pray about, and it takes so much time, even for a short-worded woman like me. It’s a privilege to carry all the cares of this world to the Lord of the Universe, a privilege apparently not shared by many, but it can be. I am certain that He hears all of our requests and is working on it even beforehand.
We are praying, believing the Lord can do all He says He can. It feels good to know you’re doing what you’re supposed to do.